Goat-Feeding, Photo Shoots, and Pumpkins

Andrew and I had a relaxing day off Monday.  It was a beautiful day, so we decided to spend most of the afternoon at Maymont.

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We fed the goats:

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In case you don’t know, I really love goats and regularly ask Andrew if we can have one as a pet (“They’re just like funny little dogs!“)  I think he takes me to Maymont somewhat often to satisfy that desire without actually getting a goat.  (“Yeah, funny little dogs that have horns and eat everything.“)  😉

After feeding the goats, we looked at the other animals, walked around the park, and just enjoyed our time together.

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Monday evening we did something that was long overdue and also a lot of fun.  When we got married a year and a half ago, a good friend of ours, Katie, paid for me to have bridal portraits done with another good friend, Kate, as her wedding gift to us.  It was an incredibly generous gift!  Kate and I were relieved that, as good friends, we could schedule the photo shoot on our own time and not worry about being super professional.  Well, to make a long story short, we finally took my bridal portraits Monday!  To make it more fun though, I convinced Andrew to dress up so we could do some couple’s shots in addition to just bridal.

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I put my wedding dress back on (it’s a little snugger than it was a year and a half ago, but it still fits! :-D) with my cowboy boots, Andrew put on a light blue shirt and khakis, and Kate drove us out to a random field in the country where we had the most beautiful photo shoot!

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Kate is insanely talented (obviously); I have no idea how to pose for pictures like this (and neither does Andrew), but Kate was awesome and told us exactly what to do!  I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos!

The week since Monday has been consumed by…. PUMPKINS!  As a fundraiser for mission trips, my youth group has a pumpkin patch on the front lawn of our church during the month of October.  The semi-truck full of pumpkins arrived early Tuesday morning:

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In case you can’t tell by the photo, that’s a whole lot of pumpkins.  It took a large group of us about three hours to unload them all;  I did more directing than lifting, but I am still really sore!  If you live in the Richmond area, consider buying your pumpkins from Trinity UMC… the money goes to a great cause!

Other than hauling pumpkins, I have been pretty lazy about working out in the last week.  Andrew and I walked for an hour last night after dinner, and I’m going to  do some lifting today (now that I’ve typed it I can’t back out :)).

Have a great Thursday!

-Goats: love them or fear them?
-Has anyone else taken bridal/wedding photos long after the wedding??
-When are you stopping by my church to buy your pumpkins? 😉

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Sleep Deprivation and Why My Husband is the Best

Good morning!  The last week has been slightly hectic, and I apologize for my subsequent blogging hiatus.  Every time I started a new post I thought, I got nothing.  Don’t worry… I have returned :).

On Friday night our youth group had a lock-in at church–50+ people, all night, no sleep.  The night was full of: manhunt (similar to hide-and-seek), dodge ball, movies, a ghost tour, duct tape games, and lots of food.

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The object of the duct tape game was to tape someone so that they hang on the wall for the longest once the chair is pulled away.  The winner (the girl on the right in the above photo) said her winning strategy was simple: wear pants.  Great life advice as well.

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Part of the “ghost tour”… it’s not everyday you get to wear a gorilla costume 😀

 I had a blast, and I think all the youth did as well, but I spent the rest of the weekend recovering from the lack of sleep!  Spoiler alert: when I don’t get enough sleep, I become helpless, and Andrew is a saint.  I crawled into my bed around 8:45 AM and slept until 12:30 PM Saturday.  When I finally shuffled myself downstairs to the kitchen, my sweet, sweet husband handed me a bowl of overnight oats.  Before he’d gone to bed Friday night, Andrew prepared my breakfast knowing I’d be too exhausted to function Saturday morning.  How sweet is that?

After very slowly eating breakfast, I was ready for a nap.  (Yes, one hour and the process of eating oatmeal zapped all my energy.)  I hobbled back upstairs, crawled back into bed, but could not seem to fall asleep.  I started thinking about soup.  It was a little chilly, and I was so tired, and soup sounded like just about the greatest thing in the world.  But how can I get this soup?  I’m upstairs in bed.  Do we even have soup in the house?  I decided my only option was to call Andrew’s cell phone (he was still all the way downstairs at this point).  I called and sadly heard his phone vibrating on his bedside table.  Dang.

I hobbled back downstairs and stood in the kitchen, where Andrew had pulled out the rubber gloves and was deep cleaning the sink and counters.  After a minute he turned and looked at me.

“Hi honey.  How are you doing?”

“I’m tired.  Let’s make soup.”

“We can make soup, but I don’t think we have everything we need.  Do you want me to go out and get you some soup?”

“I don’t know.  I think I need a shower.”

Andrew went back to cleaning because he’s an awesome husband, and I made the trip upstairs to take a shower… where I fell asleep.  When I finally got myself ready to leave the house (it took longer than you might think), Andrew walked upstairs to change clothes.  He picked up his cell phone.

“Did you call me at 1:30?”

“Yeah.”

“Where were you?”

(I patted my side of the bed.)

“You called me from the bed?”

“Yeah.  About the soup.”

“What about the soup?”

“That I wanted some.”

“I didn’t have my phone with me.”

“…I know.”

Sleep deprivation at its finest.  God bless that man for being patient with me. 😀

We ran a few errands, acquired all the ingredients for this soup, and made my sleepy dreams come true:

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Mmm.  Soup.  🙂

Sleep was the theme of the rest of the weekend:  fell asleep on the couch Saturday night, slept in Sunday morning, fell asleep on the couch again Sunday afternoon…

Andrew and I both took off work today because my lack of sleep stole our weekend, and we have some good things planned for the day (that’s not entirely true… we are planning to plan some good things for the day, but so far we haven’t made it past, “Sleep in and eat breakfast.” 😀

Have a great Monday!

Sleep deprivation:  do you become as helpless as I do?
What did you do this weekend?
Have you ever worn a gorilla costume?

 

Sharing the Harvest + Weekly Workouts

“Honey, we should share some of this produce with our family and friends.”

You know the look an eight-year-old gives you when you tell him he has to stop playing video games with his friends and clean his room?  That is precisely the look I received from Andrew yesterday when I uttered those words.  It was a mix of, “Are you really speaking English right now?” and “I cannot even believe how unfair you are.”

Share?  We can freeze it!  How are we going to store up for the winter if we share?

Family, friends–we are working on it. 😉

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As it turns out, Andrew’s reluctance to share only extends to the zucchini because he loves it, but he is more than willing to part with some of the other veggies.  On the flip side, I am happy to hand out zucchini to anyone walking by the house because 1.  I don’t love it, and 2. We have so much of it!  The photo above is today’s harvest, which includes three zucchini totaling 4.5 lb.  Each one is seriously bigger than my forearm.  Also today we picked three cucumbers, one yellow squash, and about 10 oz of cherry tomatoes!

Here’s our haul from a couple days ago:

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Cucumbers (which are now in the process of becoming pickles!), fantastic peppers, even more zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and the coolest looking, most delicious tomato I’ve ever beheld (<–That sounds like an exaggeration simply because I used the word “beheld” in reference to a tomato… it was very tasty. ;-))

The goodness just keeps rolling in.

In other news, I am rebounding from my cold that developed last weekend.  I’ve been limiting my workouts this week to easy walks, yoga, and light weight-lifting.  Yesterday afternoon I was feeling mostly better, so I went to the gym to do intervals on the Elliptical.  I pressed through–10 minute warm-up, 10 minutes of 30 seconds hard/30 seconds recover, 10 minutes of moderate intensity, 5 minute cool-down–but during the last bit I felt exhausted, and not in the I-just-had-a-great-workout kind of way, but in the I-don’t-feel-well way.  I probably should have given myself one more day to recover.  Oh well.

I have a busy day ahead–my family is coming in town this weekend for my grandmother’s memorial service, so in addition to work, I need to do some house cleaning, and, uh, finally put on paper what I want to say at the service tomorrow.  I have been thinking about it, but putting off actually doing it because I know I will need a few boxes of tissues just to write it.

What’s on your schedule for the weekend?
Do you workout when you are sick?
Zucchini: love it or hate it?

Impromptu College Reunion

I am currently experiencing a post-exhausting-week cold.  My throat began itching on the drive home Friday, and now I am in full blown green snot mode.  (You’re welcome.)  Andrew woke me up in the middle of the night and said, “Catherine… roll over.  You’re making funny noises….and you’re right in my face.”  😀  I consider myself to have a strong immune system, but I know I am highly susceptible to getting sick when I am stressed and/or overly tired.  Oy.

I spent most of Saturday recuperating, and on Sunday I met up with with my college housemates for an impromptu reunion.  We met at Kate’s apartment in the Fan and walked to Garnett’s Cafe for lunch.  I’d never been, but it was delicious, and they have gluten-free bread, so I will have to go back with Andrew very soon!  From there we walked to Kuba Kuba for their iced cafes con leche (by the way, I have been far too lax about the amount of dairy I’m eating…)  By the time we arrived back at Kate’s after two hours of talking, eating, talking, and walking, I was exhausted and had a bad case of medicine-head.  I drove home to take a nap, and the girls went to the river, with the plan to come over to our house later for dinner, prepared by Chef Andrew.

The meal included a salad with lots of fresh veggies from our garden, plus spinach and arugula from the store.  I was thrilled to be able to share the harvest with our friends 🙂

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In addition to salad, we had baked chicken with a roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade (the tapenade was from Trader Joe’s) and a lemon-basil quinoa.

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It was all pretty delicious. 🙂

The girls were concerned that I was taking this picture because they’d come straight from the river/being out in the sun all afternoon, but I think they all look beautiful:

dollhouseI love these people 🙂 

We ate and talked and reminisced about things we did in college.  Andrew informed us that the more he hears about our college experience (mostly the pranks we pulled and the weird things we did that we thought were hilarious), the less he wonders why none of us dated very much 😀

We ended the day with a trip to Ray’s for ice cream and Italian water ice.  As always, it’s so good for my soul to spend time with this crew, even when I’m not feeling well!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

NC Mission Trip Recap- Part 1

I am home from North Carolina and excited to give a full account of the week, but first, I must acknowledge what happened yesterday:  Andrew hijacked the blog.  It was a legitimate hijacking.  Not only did he not tell me he was writing a post, but he didn’t tell me he’d done it afterwards either!  I happened to glance at the stats page on my phone, saw a few notifications, and thought, two people commented on…what post?  Oh…  What a funny guy. 😀  Because the stolen post seemed to be well-received, Andrew has landed himself a contract job as a monthly guest blogger (he’s not getting paid for it.)  I hope those of you that we don’t know in real life enjoyed “meeting” Andrew!

Now the mission trip summary…I’ll do my best to keep in concise without leaving out any juicy details 🙂

The team:
Our team consisted of twelve middle school youth and four adults.  I’ve probably mentioned this on the blog before, but I love middle schoolers.  I think they are absolutely hilarious in that you never know what they will say or do.  In that regard, they did not disappoint this week.  Actually, they did not disappoint in any way this week;  I was impressed by how hard they all worked and the great attitudes they had despite the heat and persistent mosquitoes.

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The people we served:
As I mentioned in my midweek report, we worked with a man named Chuck and his two teenage daughters, Ashley and Haley, who are in a very tough spot in life at the moment.  Chuck is sharp, witty, knowledgeable about many, many subjects, and full of hilarious one-liners.  “She’s as tough as woodpecker lips.”  “At least my report card didn’t stutter;  yours kept saying, “D-D-D-D-D…”  More importantly, he has a deep love for his daughters and a rock-solid faith that was evident to all of us.  Despite losing his wife, job, and being left to raise teenage girls, his devotion to God has not been shaken.

In addition to teaching us some legitimately useful life skills, Chuck showed us how “we rednecks” get strong out of in the country:  using heavy metal bars and sledgehammers:

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And that block of wood they are pounding with the sledgehammer?  After we took turns hitting it all day, Chuck stood it up and split it in two with the sledgehammer, prompting this response from one of our boys:

“If I took a girl out on a date, and you were her dad, I would treat her so well…”  😀

The work:
Half of our team painted the outside of Chuck’s trailer, and half the team replaced the floor in a few rooms inside.  As I mentioned above, everyone worked incredibly hard and finished the tasks we set out to do.

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The funny (part 1):
The man living next door to Chuck owns a bunch of goats and keeps them in a barely charged electric fence.  Think static electricity.  Or a first grade science experiment using a battery and a light bulb (I know this to be true thanks to one of our awesome adults, Robin, who teaches science to elementary school students. :))  One afternoon Chuck showed a few of our youth what that fence feels like, and, because they are twelve years old, that entertained many of them for longer than you might think.  Weird, but harmless.  Well, the phone calls home that night sounded like this:

“Catherine let us electrocute ourselves on an electric fence today!  We kept shocking ourselves over and over!  What?  Why not?  Yeah, I’m okay… No, it didn’t hurt… No, we didn’t do it for very long…”

Oh boy.  Parents, I did not let your kids electrocute themselves.  Again, think static electricity, and please consider that your twelve-year-old may have exaggerated.  I do think, however, that a few of them seemed slightly more balanced afterwards… 😉

I will leave it here for now, but I have plenty more to report tomorrow.  Thanks for reading!

Beach Day and Crazy Tomatoes

Life is about to be busy–a good busy–for a season.  Next weekend I leave for a mission trip with the youth group, will be home for a week, then leave for another mission trip (more on this later this week!), so this past weekend was somewhat of a “calm before the storm.”  Saturday we drove to Virginia Beach and met my college roomie Leah for a day of fun in the partly cloudy sun.  Other than a couple of brief rain showers, it was a wonderful beach day!

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Andrew and I are not exactly “beach compatible.”  My ideal day on the beach includes lying on my back, taking a long walk, lying on my stomach, dipping my toes in the water, and repeating.  Andrew, on the other hand, turns into a giant 9-year-old as soon as his toes hit the sand.

“What do you want to do first??  Build a sand castle??  Dig a hole??  Body surf??  Throw the frisbee??  Dig a bigger hole??”

I say that with all the love in the world. 🙂  Because marriage involves many compromises, we did a little of both beach methods.  We sat, Andrew built a carefully measured, structurally-sound castle (you can’t turn off “engineer”), we threw the football and Waboba in the water, and we relaxed.

Before Leah arrived, Andrew was in the zone building his castle.  I thought it would be funny to turn on the self-timer on the camera, sneak up behind Andrew, and take a funny picture without him noticing.  Well, as I was walking over, raising our sand-diggers (yes, we bring toys to the beach), I noticed the woman on the blanket next to us looking at me like I was nuts.  I lost my nerve, and camera took the photo mid-sneak.  It’s not what I had in mind, but I look so awkward that it makes me laugh:

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😀

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We had a great time catching up with Leah just enjoying the beach!  On the way home, we met our friend Allison for dinner.  We miss her so much in Richmond, and was so, so good to share a meal and chat for a bit. 🙂

Things were productive on the garden-front this weekend as well.  Between the heat and the afternoon rain we’ve been having for the last few weeks, our tomato plants have grown out of control.  Part of the problem is that we planted too many too close together;  it’s hard to tell which branches belong to which plant now!  They’ve long surpassed their 4-ft cages and started flopping over on top of each other.  This weekend we had to stake them:

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Most of them are taller than their 6-ft stakes, and a few are even taller than Andrew now.  Despite the craziness, they are producing lots of beautiful fruit:

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We are approaching an exciting point in which we are harvesting a lot of veggies.  I know it’s all relative, but we were thrilled to bring these beauties inside yesterday:

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They were (we ate them all) the best cherry tomatoes I’ve tasted!  Thankfully, there are dozens more ripening at this very moment. 🙂

What did you do this weekend?
What activities do you like to do at the beach?

Liebster Award

Thanks to Wendy over at The Scarred Runner for nominating me for this cool little blog award!  I am very flattered and excited to write this post. 🙂

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The Rules:

  1. This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.  Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to them in your post.
  2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 new bloggers (with fewer than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.
  4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

11 Random Facts About Me:

1.  I am very easily startled.  Not scared–just startled.  The majority of my coworkers have caused me to jump, gasp, and take a step backwards simply by walking through a doorway.  Recently, I was walking into the bathroom right before going to bed; the light was on in our bedroom and off in the bathroom, so there was just enough light to make out shapes.  For the briefest of seconds, a pile of towels on the floor looked like a wolf.  Obviously, I knew there was not a wolf in the bathroom, but my body reacted before my brain.  I gasped so loudly and turned to run.  Andrew looked scared at my reaction and asked what was wrong.  “I thought…there was a wolf in the bathroom.”  Yep.  Not going to live that one down…ever.

2.  I am very squeamish.  I once passed out while having my blood pressure taken because the cuff was so tight and I could just feel the blood pooling up in my shoulder and…
Similarly, a few months ago I cut my finger while slicing a bagel.  I didn’t need stitches, but it was a bad cut.  Andrew told me to hold it under the water and NOT look at it while he went in search of a band-aid.  I looked anyway.  Andrew had to carry me to the couch and later quoted me saying, “I’m bleeding out!”

3.  I really enjoy pranking people, and I always have.  Once in elementary school, I wrote down a fake message for my sister that her friend Sarah had called.  This was before 8-year-olds had cell phones, so she actually had to dial the number on our wall-mounted phone.  Instead of writing down her friend’s number, I wrote the number of one of my friends who was also named Sarah.  I correctly suspected that they’d have an entire conversation without realizing who they were actually talking to.  When Whitney finally figured it out, she chased me outside and around the house.

4.  I think I am hilarious.  One time in college I laughed so hard that I peed…I was laughing at a joke that I made.

5.  I have two nieces, and when each of them were born, I understood love in a whole new dimension.  But seriously, how cute are they?

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6.  I am at greatest risk of laughing uncontrollably at inappropriate times when my mom starts laughing.  A few years ago, my brother was participating in “No-Shave November,” or “Movember.”  When Thanksgiving rolled around, he looked a little scruffy, and we gave him a really hard time about having a Dirt ‘Stache.  At Thanksgiving dinner my very Southern, proper grandmother said, “Ross, I see you’re growing a mustache.”  I smirked, anticipating the criticism he was about to receive.  Instead of criticism, however, Grandma said, “I think it’s kind of… sexy,” raising her eyebrows on the last word.  My mom literally spit out a bite of mashed potatoes and laughed so hard she was crying.  I might have been able to control myself, but seeing my mom try to stifle her laughter while wiping tears off her face was too much.  We were quite a non-discreet mess.  It happened again recently, but the situation was so inappropriate that I fear we, along with my brother, are still in the proverbial doghouse with my sister, and therefore, I cannot tell the story.

7.  When I was little and couldn’t fall asleep at night, I’d sneak down to the living room where my dad was watching television (the rest of the family was asleep.)  I’d sit in his lap, and we’d eat popcorn and watch old Westerns, and he never told me to go to bed.  Those are some of my favorite childhood memories.

8.  My grandmother–not the sexy mustache one, but my dad’s mom–is probably cooler than your grandmother, and has more awesome one-liners than anyone I know.  Prior to suffering from Alzheimer’s, she was a feisty little Italian woman with a huge heart and strong opinions.  She was our babysitter growing up, and when I was in middle school, she drove me to the drug store one afternoon to buy supplies for a school project.  While standing in line at the checkout counter, she scanned the magazine rack and started angrily reading some of the taglines aloud:  “50 ways to please your man?? 100 ways to please your man??  If you did all those things, you wouldn’t have time to do anything else!!”  😀

9. I skipped school once during high school.  It was during our standardized testing week in the spring of my senior year, and I had a two-hour study hall that day.  My partner in crime, Whitney, had a two-hour physics class in which they were watching a movie.  (In other words, we weren’t missing much.)  We met in the parking lot after checking into and then excusing ourselves from class, and drove to Starbucks.  Immediately after ordering our Frappucinos, Whitney side stepped toward me, leaned in, and said, “Don’t turn around, but the librarian just walked in.”  Keeping our backs to her, we both went into the single stall bathroom, locked the door, and spent about five minutes freaking out.  What are the chances?? Why did we skip school?? We’re going to get in so much trouble!!  Finally, we peeked out the door, saw that she was gone, and claimed our drinks.  We were young and wild and free.

10. I am, as Andrew likes to say, an “emotional sponge.”  An easy crier.  I’m not sensitive in the sense that my feelings are easily hurt, but when I see/hear/read/imagine that other people are sad, it’s like I absorb the emotion.  Around Christmas this year Andrew and I were watching Home Alone.  <Spoiler alert> At the end of the movie when Kevin’s mom walks in the house and sees him standing in front of the Christmas tree, I started crying.  Andrew was incredulous.

“Why are you crying??”
“Because he’s okay!”
“…He’s been okay!  We’ve seen that he’s okay the whole time!  And you’ve seen this movie before!”
“But his mom didn’t KNOW that he was okay, and now she knows!”

True story.

11.  I love telling stories.  Thanks for reading a few of mine. 🙂

Questions from The Scarred Runner:
1. What do you do to unwind for the day?  When I get home I grab a snack, lounge on the couch, and watch a few episodes of whatever sit-com is on at the moment.
2. What is your favorite dessert?  Ice creamNo contest.
3. Cats or dogs?  Undecided.  If a cat is raised right, as ours were, they are awesome pets.  Ours totally broke the cat stereotype, but I don’t necessarily like other people’s cats.  Theoretically, I like dogs, but there are few things I find more gross than getting licked by a dog.  I am allergic to both.
4. What color is your car?  Grey
5. What inspired you to start blogging?  I enjoy writing, and I love reading other people’s blogs!
6. Beach or Countryside?  Beach.
7. Drive or Fly?  Drive.
8. Do you always have the latest tech gadgets before anyone else?  Definitely not.  I went from flip phone to iphone just a few months ago.
9. Least favorite celebrity?  Lady Gaga.  I don’ t know what it is about her, but her music makes me want to gag-a.
10. How do you feel about magic tricks?  I hate them.  Magicians are so smug, and I don’t like feeling tricked.  Seriously, don’t ever show me a magic trick.  I have very strong feelings about the matter.
11.  Have you ever modeled professionally?  Why yes, I had a brief stint with Rosetta Stone in college.  Look for me as you’re learning a new language.  (I just made up that question because I wanted to share that fact :-D)

My Nominees for the Liebster Award:

Races, Reps, and Ramblings
Lucy On The Lookout
Gluten-Free 2013
Reluctantly Skinny
Run With Perseverence

*You can answer any of the questions above or make up your own 🙂 *

Thanks for reading, if you’ve hung in this long. 😀